II BY IV DESIGN – The Residences of 488 University Avenue

II BY IV DESIGN picII BY IV DESIGN’s work on Toronto’s Residences of 488 University Avenue is earning accolades.
By Jim Harris

The Residences of 488 University Avenue, a mixed use tower in downtown Toronto, won’t officially open until summer 2018, but it is already considered a new city landmark. The retrofit of an existing 18 storey office tower, the final building will be 55 stories of glass and steel that ascends from a radiant podium. The building’s underground parking was excavated, its perimeter footprint was extended and its  exterior was completely re-clad, making it a feat of engineering. A new 37-story condominium with 453 luxurious units will rise above the office component; with construction occurring all while the offices below remain open.

Toronto-based II BY IV DESIGN’s work on the 55-story commercial and residential project has earned it multiple awards since it became involved in the project five years ago.

Most recently, in September the company was awarded the “Overall Winner of the Year” during the highly prestigious ABB LEAF (Leading European Architecture Forum) awards held in London. II BY IV DESIGN was selected from 78 shortlisted entries across 17 categories, with projects spanning the globe from over 25 countries.

This recognition comes almost one year after the firm won the highly competitive Show Flats and Development category at the 2016 SBID (Society of British and International Design) International Design Awards for the Residences of 488 University Avenue’s marketing centre. The Residences of 488 University Avenue project has also earned multiple honors at the International Property Awards, including best mixed-use architecture, best residential high-rise development and best condominium in Canada.II BY IV DESIGN

II BY IV DESIGN is responsible for all aspects of the interior design and the overall design concept which includes space planning, furniture specification, custom millwork and lighting design, finish selection, suite layouts and directing the extensive public art program.

“[Developer Amexon Development Corp.] is a client with whom we share a mutual respect, our relationship is based on a foundation of trust which has developed over several years. They rely on our abilities to execute their vision and we are involved at every level,” says Dan Menchions, a principal at II BY IV DESIGN. “Particularly on this development, which is a legacy project for them.”

United in Luxury

General contractor Toddglen Construction started work on the Residences of 488 University Avenue in 2015. In January 2017, the contractor started work on the residential addition that sits atop the existing office tower, originally built in 1960.

Work on the existing building included excavating beneath it to place a six-story parking garage. “This is quite a unique building where there is a commercial aspect below and a luxury residential tower above,” Menchions says.

All 55 stories of the building will be wrapped in shimmering glass curtainwall attached to a steel exoskeleton. The building will also include a 50-foot-high atrium housing a new restaurant.

The Residences of 488 University Avenue will include 30,000 square feet of amenity spaces on the 18th and 19th floors. Building amenity areas include an indoor-outdoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness studio, squash court, an outdoor patio and sky bar.

The 19th floor will include a “SkyLobby” for residents that includes 22-foot-high ceilings with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that will offer unobstructed views of the city. Each of the residential building’s 453 units will also feature impressive views.

Close Partnership

II BY IV DESIGN’s relationship with Amexon Development Corp. extends back more than 10 years. II BY IV DESIGN provided the interior design for the developer’s first residential complex in Toronto. “They are a well-educated client that is hands-on at every level of the project, which is an added benefit to us as designers, since we know first-hand that everything will be approved by them,” Menchions says.

Amexon approached II BY IV DESIGN after acquiring the property and II BY IV DESIGN in turn recommended CORE Architects to design the building.

“We can’t say enough about collaborating with a world-class firm like II BY IV DESIGN,” Amexon executive sales manager Jason Shiff says. “They have brought much attention to detail, design and overall functionality. It was fantastic working with them and bringing our master-planned development to life.”

II BY IV DESIGN maintains similar relationships with all of its clients. “We have mutually respectful relationships with our clients; they rely on us to be innovators for their properties and participate in the selection of premium partners,” Menchions says.

Range of Expertise

Menchions co-founded II BY IV DESIGN in Toronto in 1990 with partner Keith Rushbrook. The multifaceted company includes an interior design studio and a product studio. The interior design studio handles commercial interiors work for clients ranging from retail stores and restaurants to hotels, cruise ship interiors and condominiums.

II BY IV DESIGN in 2012 launched its product studio, which develops lighting, furniture, carpet, wall coverings and more. The company operates an interior studio and a product studio in Toronto as well as studios in New York City and London.

“We are a full service creative studio,” Menchions says. “We don’t just specialize in one niche of interiors. We are able to learn from each of the areas of design we work in and bring forth that knowledge to all of our clients.”

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